BOSTON (AP) — The scoreboards at Fenway Park were all flashing “100 WINS” to celebrate the Red Sox reaching the milestone for the first time since Ted Williams returned from World War II.
David Price was already thinking about No. 101.
“That’s what we’ve done all year,” Price said on Wednesday night after pitching seven innings of three-hit ball to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 1-0. “That’s why we have 100 wins right now.”
Price (15-6) struck out seven to win his sixth straight decision, leaving after 92 pitches with a lead earned when Rafael Devers scampered home on a wild pitch by Aaron Sanchez (4-6) in the fifth inning. The Red Sox left-hander is unbeaten in 11 starts and is 5-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break.
Steven Wright pitched the eighth and Craig Kimbrel got three outs for his 39th save, and Boston’s magic number for clinching the AL East dropped to seven over the second-place New York Yankees.
“Don’t get me wrong; 100 is 100. But we’ve got bigger goals, obviously,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “Today we got closer to one of those goals.”
A night after becoming the first major league team this year to clinch a playoff spot, Boston won for the 10th time in 14 games and moved a season-high 54 games above .500 for the first time since the 1946 team of Williams, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr and Dom DiMaggio went 104-50.
The Red Sox need only to go 6-10 the rest of the season to break the franchise record of 105 wins, set in 1912. Boston also won 101 games in 1915.
“Somebody just told me it’s been done three times here and the last one was 70-something years ago,” first baseman Mitch Moreland said. “I think that speaks for itself.”
BLUE BLUE JAYS
Sanchez allowed three hits and struck out six, allowing the game’s only run after Moreland walked to lead off the fifth. Devers reached on a fielder’s choice and took third when Brock Holt poked a single through the hole at shortstop on a hit-and-run.
Sanchez bounced a 2-2 pitch to Jackie Bradley Jr. in the dirt and past catcher Danny Jansen to the backstop, allowing Devers to score.
“I love Price. I keep in touch with Price even to this day,” said Sanchez, who was teammates with Price in Toronto in 2015. “To go out there and match what he’s doing. … Just to go out there and have a special night like that was fun. It’s unfortunate they scored the way they did and we lost the way we did.”
Toronto fell to 1-8 at Fenway Park this year and dropped to a season-worst 15 games below .500.
Rowdy Tellez has seven doubles in his first seven games, the most for any player in the majors since 1908. Jonathan Davis had his first major league hit for Toronto, which hasn’t won back-to-back games since Aug. 24-25.
Cora is the first manager with 100 wins in his first season with a club since Felipe Alou with the 2003 San Francisco Giants and the first in his initial season as a big league manager since Dusty Baker with the 1993 Giants.
Cora said Chris Sale, who returned to the mound on Tuesday night for the first time since Aug. 12, did not report any issues with his left shoulder. Sale was scheduled to play catch on Wednesday and throw a bullpen session on Friday. The plan is for him to pitch three innings against the New York Mets.
“He’s encouraged,” Cora said. “Yesterday was like his first big league outing. He was all over the plate. He admitted it — the game sped up on him.”
Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman, who hasn’t pitched since Sept. 3 because of a blister on his right index finger, may be done for the year, manager John Gibbons said.
Red Sox: RHP Matt Barnes who hasn’t pitched since Sept. 4 because of left hip inflammation, played catch on Monday and Tuesday, and he was scheduled to do so again on Wednesday.
Blue Jays: RHP Sam Gaviglio (3-8) pitches the series finale on Thursday night.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (12-4) takes the mound for Boston.